South Korean electronics giant Samsung’s operating profit plunged in the first quarter as prices for its memory chips continued to fall and demand remained weak.

The company reported an operating profit of 640 billion Korean won (roughly $478.55 million), down from 14.12 trillion won ($11 billion) a year earlier, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2009. Overall sales stood at 63.75 trillion Korean won ($47.6 billion), also down 18% year-on-year.

Primarily, Samsung's semiconductor division which consists of sales of memory chips that go into everything from personal computers to smartphones to servers had been its biggest profit driver.

However, prices for memory chips have continued to fall, while demand stayed weak amid macroeconomic challenges, resulting in a 4.58 trillion Korean won ($3.4 billion) loss for its semiconductor business versus an 8.45 trillion won ($6.3 billion) profit in the same period last year.

And while Samsung saw a boost in its mobile division with the launch of its latest line of flagship S23 series smartphones, it was not enough to swing the losses from its semiconductor division in the opposite direction during the first quarter.

Samsung did however forecast a recovery in the second half of the year as it expects demand to gradually recover in the half, amid projections that customer inventory levels will have declined.